SAVE AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE!
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Australian universities abandon their own national literatures and cultures, discontinuing dedicated chairs and reducing teaching programs on Australian literature, in spite of the profound dismay expressed nationally and worldwide about these unwise decisions.
In a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Michael Spence, as teachers and researchers of Australian Literature and Studies, we have expressed our deepest concern at the decision not to renew the position of Chair of Australian Literature (inaugurated in 1962) unless philanthropic funds are forthcoming. The response from the Vice-Chancellor was inadequate and suggested an incomplete awareness about Australian literature at his own university.
THIS IS WHY WE ARE LAUNCHING THIS CHALLENGE
CANNOT BE REDUCED TO STUDENT DOLLARS
There must be strategic investment in the field supporting research, public leadership and engagement. Senior appointments are critical to maintaining a level of excellence in research and promoting Australian literature and its study on the international stage.
Major research-intensive universities in Australia must invest in their nation’s own literature. This is not a narrow specialisation. Australia’s writers have engaged deeply with all the major social, cultural and political issues for the Australian people since their very earliest works began to appear.
It is as if Italy, France, Germany were to dismantle their strong focus on their own national literatures at university and all other levels of education. Students, Ph.D. candidates, professors and early career researchers work on Australian literature worldwide. It is an immense editorial market that risks being lost!
The Australian Government and Australian Universities must take quick action in order to redress the current embarrassing situation and to invest in the teaching and research of Australian Literature in Australian Universities.
Antonella Riem, Chair of English and Australian studies, Director of Department, Udine University, Italy, President of the Italian National Association for Anglistics (ANDA), former member of the board of the European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA), member of The European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS); Former Vice-President and Deputy-Chancellor International of the University of Udine.
Sue Ballyn Honorary Professor, Founder & Honorary Co-Director of the Centre for Australian and Transnational Studies (CEAT), University of Barcelona, Spain.
Salhia Ben-Messahel, Professor in Australian literature and EASA President, English Department, University of Toulon- France.
Anne Holden Rønning, Associate professor emerita, University of Bergen, Norway; former President of the European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA) 2001-2005.
Helen Gilbert, Professor of Theatre, Royal Holloway University of London and DAAD Guest Professor in Australian and Indigenous Studies at University of Cologne (2018–20).
Zuzanna Kruk-Buchowska, PhD, Assistant Professor, Secretary of Polish Association for the Study of Australia and New Zealand, Coordinator of the Australia and New Zealand M.A. Programme at the Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.
Cornelis Martin Renes, Associate Professor Postcolonial Literatures in English, University of Barcelona (UB), Co-Director Australian and Transnational Studies Centre CEAT, UB, Editor CEAT Online Journal Coolabah, former President of the European Association for Studies of Australia EASA.
Isabel Carrera Suárez, Professor in English, University of Oviedo, Spain, Chair of EACLALS, Editor of EJES.
Vanessa Castejon, Associate Professor and deputy-director of Pléiade Research team, Université Paris 13, France, former member of the board of the European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA).
Martin Leer, Professor of Contemporary Australian and Postcolonial Literatures, University of Genève, Switzerland, Ph.D. from the University of Queensland, Australia. Member of all the main European and world Associations of Australian Studies.
Maria Renata Dolce, Professor of English, Postcolonial and Australian Literatures and Studies; Center for Australian Studies in the Mediterranean (CASIM), Bernard Hickey-Commonwealth library, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy.
Coral Ann Howells, Professor Emerita, University of Reading and Senior Research Fellow, Institute of English Studies, University of London. Co-editor of *The Oxford History of the Novel in English, Vol. 12: The Novel in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the South Pacific since 1950* (2017).
John Thieme, Senior Fellow, University of East Anglia, Professor Emeritus, London South Bank University, General Editor, Contemporary World Writers Series (Manchester UP), former Editor of “The Journal of Commonwealth Literature”, former Vice-Chair ACLALS and Treasurer EACLALS, former compiler of Australian Literature section, Year’s Work in English Studies;
Rosi Braidotti, Distinguished University Professor, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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